California to Oregon Road Trip | Day 10: Portland, OR

Get ready for the final day, Day 10, of our California to Oregon road trip recap!

In May 2013 we drove 1,840 miles from San Diego, California to Portland, Oregon. Just two states but we covered such a significant part of the west coast which included over five national parks, three breweries, three factory tours, a visit to one of the best restaurants in the world, and countless other amazing things along the way. As you can see we avoided Los Angeles and the coast, which was done on purpose to diversify our California experience. Check out our route:


The final day of our trip was bittersweet – we were finally in Portland, our favorite city, but our trip was coming to an end. We were also exhausted from the entire road trip and were feeling ready to go home. Still, we made our last day in Portland count!


We started bright and early with biscuits of course. Pine State Biscuits are legendary in Portland and did not disappoint. I could totally eat these everyday.


After breakfast John had a straight razor shave and haircut scheduled at Rooks. I took the opportunity to drive around PDX, blast Paramore, and just be present in that moment.

At 11am we met up with the daily Secrets of Portlandia tour that met right outside the courthouse.


It was your standard downtown walking tour but was made extra awesome by the tour guide, Erik. Before coming to Portland he did walking tours in Spain. He was super funny, knowledgeable, and full of fun facts about Portland.


One such fun fact was about the Benson Bubblers all over Portland. Simon Benson was a wealthy business man and philanthropist, as well as a teetotaler who wanted to discourage his workers from drinking alcohol in the middle of the day. In 1912, Benson gave the city $10,000 for the installation of twenty bronze drinking fountains. Today there are still 40 working Benson Bubblers in Portland. The more you know!


The tour took us past the Portland State University campus, through South Block Parks, and over to The Portland Building. (Which you should totally recognize if you’ve ever seen the opening credits of Portlandia.)


We went through Lownsdale Square known for its several large old elm and gingko trees.


Another hilarious only-in-Portland thing we saw? Mill Ends Park, a tiny, 2 foot, official city park dedicated as “the only leprechaun colony west of Ireland.” Click that link to read more, it’s totally worth it.



The tour took about 2 hours and ended, of course, at the original Voodoo Doughnut location. We didn’t get any donuts here though, we were waiting for later.


We were, however, in the mood for lunch! We headed to one of the many food truck pods in Portland. I hit up the Portland Soup Company and John went elsewhere for a gyro.


I got up to the window and could not make up my mind. Everything looked amazing! I ended up getting a cup of the tomato soup and a half of the smoked pork butt sandwich. The soup was rich and creamy, with gorgeous buttery croutons on top. The sandwich was on super fresh bread and had the best cole slaw on top. I could eat that everyday.


After lunch it became a little overcast and rainy so we headed to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.


The museum was definitely geared more towards kids but it was still a fun place to spend an hour at, out of the rain. We found a really sweet spot up on the second floor with couches and a great view of the Willamette River.


As the skies cleared we drove up to the International Rose Test Garden.



I have wanted to come here for the last three years but the weather/timing never worked out. I’m so glad we made it on this trip though, it was beautiful!



Portland has so many of these unique urban respites where you can be among nature without ever leaving the city. Just another reason why I love Portland so much.




The view of downtown from the Rose Garden is pretty incredible.


Afterward we headed back down to the Pearl District for some shopping and dinner. The shops in the Pearl are awesome, so many adorable boutiques and home decor shops. We grabbed some amazing Thai food and beers at Jinx. Because it was happy hour all of this cost like $20. Wish we had happy hour in Boston!


Our final stop of the trip was to get donuts at our favorite Voodoo location, Voodoo Doughnut Too in northeast PDX. I know it’s gimmicky and overexposed, on TV all the time, and super touristy but the donuts at Voodoo are legit. Their quality and flavor totally back up the hype. Every time we go I expect the quality to have declined but it actually gets better and better.


As our final day in Portland, and on our trip, came to a close we were feeling sad but so, so happy. We experienced so many amazing things on our trip and became more familiar with the entire west coast. Plus, we celebrated our two year wedding anniversary which was really special. It was only fitting that as we headed back to the hotel to pack for our return flight home, a huge rainbow crossed the sky. I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect ending to our trip.


Author: Domestocrat

I'm a lady who enjoys photography, football, cooking, long drives with the windows down, This American Life, kettlecorn, hot yoga, pop punk, my nephews, my cat Reggie, and my home: Boston.

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